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Studio Artist 2.0 Launches Next Week

Latest release gets expanded paint toolset, includes eight hours of training videos By Dave Nagel
Here's a little early Macworld news for you. Synthetik Software next week will start shipping Studio Artist 2.0, a major upgrade to its paint, rotoscoping and special effects package. Aside from gaining several new features, the latest release will be Synthetik's first for Mac OS X and its first to include video training--eight hours of QuickTime-based training videos to be precise. The company is also releasing and will continue to support Studio Artist 2.0 for OS 9.

Synthetik bills Studio Artist as "the world's first graphics synthesizer." It's capabilities span the gamut of the visual arts. Aside from being a paint program, it handles rotoscoping and image-processing effects, as well as morphing and warping. The paint features of Studio Artist are built around a "Paint Synthesizer"--a sort of laboratory for experimenting with visual effects. In version 2.0, this Paint Synthesizer has been expanded to include a fairly vast amount of new paint parameters for a total of something like 300. The program ships with something like 2,000 pre-configured "paint patches," and users can save and share their own as well. (We have several available for download at

The Paint Synthesizer can also be used to apply effects to source images automatically stroke by stroke for creating painterly effects on photographs. The program can also be used in a sort of "assisted" mode, where it works with the artist as he or she draws. Using the Paint Synthesizer, artists can record their paint actions as sequences and apply these to other source images or video so that, frame by frame, Studio Artist can automatically rotoscope a moving image to achieve painterly or other effects over time. These paint action sequences (or PASeqs) can also be saved and shared with other users.

Studio Artist 2.0 includes several enhancements to its time-based effects. Each individual layer now offers alpha support and can be resized and repositioned in the canvas. For keyframing, version 2.0 now supports Bezier path (as before), position, movie/image source content and compositing multiple video streams.

Other new features in Studio Artist 2.0 include:

  • Onionskinning for cel-style animation.
  • The ability to create a movie directly in the canvas, save frames one at a time, and move forward and backward in the movie as you work.
  • Multiple pens.
  • Particle paint, which generates multiple strokes all over the screen as the artist inputs a single stroke.
  • New image-processing effects, including: cartoon simplify, adaptive filtering, gradient modulation, color transformational mapping, white balance and matte keying.
  • Dynamic brush shape modulation allows tilt input from a tilt-sensitive tablet (such as the Wacom Intuos and Intuos2 series) to change the shape of a brush based on the angle of the pen.
  • Support for all QuickTime compression formats.
  • The ability to stream the entire canvas or a single layer.

Studio Artist 2.0 will be available Jan. 8. Synthetik will be showing off the software at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco Jan. 8 through 12 at booth No. 3750. It sells for $379. Upgrades run $179. For more information, visit Also be sure to stop by our Studio Artist user forum at

Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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